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Scree - March 13, 2011

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

cloudhiking's Adventure Guide to the Rainbow Falls Trail in the Smokies is complete. I hiked the trail a couple of weeks ago and couldn't wait to finish the Guide. It was a good hike.

Leaving the trailhead the trail follows Le Conte Creek for almost two miles until the first creek crossing. After several more bridges and creek crossings, the trail switchbacks to Rainbow Falls - 2.8 miles from the trailhead.

For the adventurous ones who want to continue to the summit of Mount Le Conte, the trail is less used. The crowds heading to the Falls have reached their destination and are going to return to the trailhead. Going to the summit, the trail climbs and crosses creeks for another half of a mile and then the trail leaves the drainage and heads for the ridge, aptly named - Rocky Spur. Great views are available from the side trail loop. Back on trail the trail joins the Bull Head Trail in a little over a half of a mile, 6 miles total from the trailhead.

Following the easy trail, it is a half mile to the Alum Cave Trail Junction, then a short distance further to the Lodge and side trail to Cliff Tops (an excellent overlook). Pass the trail shelter and the summit cairn (rock pile) is a short climb away.

Rainbow Falls Trail is a good day hike for those capable of walking 14 miles (4,000 foot elevation gain) in a day. Of course the Falls is also a good destination. Hope to see you on the trails, enjoy the Guide!

(cloudhiking - Rainbow Falls)